Darts and laurels

  • Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2014 12:35 a.m.

Dart to drivers who ignore the state’s “Move Over Law,” thereby jeopardizing the safety of emergency personnel, law enforcement and even utility workers. Although the law has been on the books for a decade, many motorists are unaware of the requirement that they slow down and approach cautiously when an emergency vehicle is stopped on the shoulder of the roadway with its lights flashing. Motorists are required to move over to another lane away from the emergency vehicle on a multi-lane highway or slow down on a two lane highway when they can do so safely. It also applies to tow trucks and roadside utility workers. This is “Move Over Law” month, designed to make the public more aware. If safety isn’t motivation enough, consider your wallet: Failure to comply can bring a $250 fine or even a felony charge if the motorist’s actions result in serious injury or death to emergency personnel or other workers.

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Laurels to 2.8 — the percentage growth in the national economy forecast for 2014 by Wells Fargo economist Michael Wolf. In remarks to the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce, Wolf actually seemed a bit sheepish about his optimism for the coming year, but local business people in the audience welcomed his assessment that Rowan County manufacturers should see a positive impact in rising demand as the recovery firms up. The turnaround can’t happen soon enough. There was a jarring juxtaposition between Wolf’s big-picture view of a recovery gaining strengh and the Rowan reality of modular-home maker Champion deciding to close its plant here and consolidate those operations elsewhere.

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Dart to the peak of flu season, which appears to be upon us across the country and in North Carolina. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the illness has now spread to at least 35 states, with North Carolina among those reporting double-digit fatalities. N.C. health officials say the death toll has risen to 28, most of whom had underlying medical conditions. While a flu shot is the best defense (although it won’t guard against all strains of the virus), health experts remind us that frequent hand-washing and avoiding flu-stricken people can help stave off the bug. So can getting enough sleep, which helps maximize immune system functioning.

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